Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (pressure cooker) - The Recipe Rebel (2024)

The Recipe Rebel / Dinner

written by Ashley Fehr

5 from 11 votes

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Total Time 24 minutes mins

Servings 6 servings

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Last updated on May 27, 2020

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This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is the easiest way to cook your chicken for any summer barbecue! It’s juicy and tender every time, make ahead friendly and can be tossed on the grill to crisp it up!

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (pressure cooker) - The Recipe Rebel (2)

Table of Contents

  • What kind of chicken works best with this pressure cooker bbq chicken?
  • How to make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken:
  • How to make this bbq chicken ahead:
  • What to serve with Instant Pot BBQ Chicken:
  • Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe

If you’re not in the thick of summer barbecues yet, it’s really only a matter of time.

Memorial Day is next week (our long weekend was this week in Canada!), and it seems like once we get past that point, it’s all about barbecues, long weeks in the sunshine (or the rain or even the snow here in Manitoba — fingers crossed that doesn’t happen this year), popsicles, and flip flops.

I’ve been loving on my Instant Pot for more than a year now, and I wanted to figure out the best ways to get the most use out of it this summer.

This Instant Pot Potato Salad is happening on repeat here — it’s perfect with any grilled meats, cold sandwiches, you name it!

And these Instant Pot Chicken Tacos are another of our favorites for the summer — so easy to throw into a taco salad, wrap, or sandwich for on the go lunching!

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (pressure cooker) - The Recipe Rebel (3)

Today we’re adding this Instant Pot BBQ Chicken to our family of suitable Instant Pot summer eats, and it’s going to be one we make over and over and over again (burgers and hot dogs? No. Thanks. I don’t love my Instant Pot that much).

What kind of chicken works best with this pressure cooker bbq chicken?

I was debating how to go about making this recipe — whether I wanted to use boneless chicken breasts, which I knew would probably end up being shredded with the sauce, or going with bone-in cuts that can be slathered in sauce and crisped in the oven or on the grill.

In the end, I knew it would actually be pretty easy just to dump some bbq sauce on this Instant Pot Shredded Chicken you all love, so I wanted to do something different.

I opted for bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks because I think they’re perfect for getting a little messy at a summer cookout, and the flavor and juiciness just can’t be beat.

Plus, kids love chicken drumsticks!

You can also use chicken breasts with this recipe if you like — I recommend a cook time of 8-10 minutes depending on how large they are.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (pressure cooker) - The Recipe Rebel (4)

How to make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken:

  1. First, we cook our chicken in the Instant Pot with some chicken broth or juice or other clear liquid until it is super juicy.
  2. Then remove it from the Instant Pot, slather with your favorite barbecue sauce (or try one of my favorites: Pineapple Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce or Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce), and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes until the skin is crispy and caramelized, or (my favorite) pop it on a hot grill, skin side down, until crispy.
  3. Devour!

How to make this bbq chicken ahead:

I think one of the best things about this pressure cooker bbq chicken is that you can pressure cook the chicken ahead of time, then pop it in a container in the fridge for up to 24 hours before saucing and grilling.

This makes it the perfect recipe for a big barbecue because you know the chicken is cooked and juicy, and all you need to do is finish it off.

It takes out so much of the guesswork to getting perfect grilled chicken!

What to serve with Instant Pot BBQ Chicken:

  • Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes
  • Easy Potato Salad Recipe
  • Creamy Ranch Bowtie Pasta Salad Recipe
  • Layered Broccoli Salad

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

written by Ashley Fehr

5 from 11 votes

This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is the easiest way to cook your chicken for any summer barbecue! It’s juicy and tender every time, make ahead friendly and can be tossed on the grill to crisp it up!

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (pressure cooker) - The Recipe Rebel (7)




Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 14 minutes mins

Total Time 24 minutes mins

Cuisine American

Course Main Course

Servings 6 servings

Calories 480cal


  • 6 skin on, bone in chicken drumsticks (or skinless)
  • 6 skin on, bone in chicken thighs (or skinless)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water (chicken broth, juice, or soda works, too)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce


  • Place chicken in 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot or pressure cooker.

  • Combine salt, garlic powder, paprika, dried onion, black pepper and sprinkle over chicken, turning to coat all sides.

  • Pour water (or other liquid) and liquid smoke into Instant Pot — feel free to experiment with different flavours as long as they are clear liquid!

  • Put the lid on, turn the valve to sealing, and select Manual or Pressure Cook, high pressure, for 10 minutes (12-15 minutes for frozen or partially frozen).

  • It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure to build and the cook time to begin counting down. When the cook time is over, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes, then open the valve and remove the lid.

  • Remove chicken, brush with barbecue sauce, and either broil for 3-4 minutes until the skin begins to crisp up, or place on the grill for 4-5 minutes.

  • *This chicken can be made ahead of time, cooked and stored in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before grilling or broiling.


*Note: one serving equals one drumstick and one thigh

Nutrition Information

Calories: 480cal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 211mg | Sodium: 827mg | Potassium: 520mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 285IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1.6mg

Keywords instant pot chicken, pressure cooker chicken

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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (pressure cooker) - The Recipe Rebel (8)

Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

Read More

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Reader Interactions


  1. Mandy says

    Do you have an oven or crockpot recipe for his bbq chicken? I don’t have an InstaPot, but I would love to try this recipe.


  2. Denese says

    I tried this recipe last week and it was so good. When you feed 5 teenage boys and everyone including your husband likes it that’s a big WIN in our house!! I served with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. A summer meal on a cold winter night…so good!
    I’m curious has anyone tried any other type of marinades?


  3. Carla says

    This chicken was delicious. I finished it on the grill and the skin got nice and crispy. My husband said, after dinner, “that’s definitely a do-over recipe.” Win/win! Thank you.


    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Carla! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!


  4. Ann says

    I made it tonight! Delicious! My chicken was frozen at 2 pm. I defrosted it for a while in the microwave, then gave it 15 minutes in the Instapot. Broiled the pieces for about 6 minutes. Very good!! Easy and fast! Thanks!


    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Ann! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!


  5. Kelly says

    Have you ever used the broth for anything? It smells so good and tastes delicious.


    • Ashley Fehr says

      I haven’t but you definitely could! It would be great in this BBQ Chicken Pasta:


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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (pressure cooker) - The Recipe Rebel (2024)


Why does my Instant Pot chicken come out rubbery? ›

Oddly enough, it can be really challenging to get the right texture when cooking boneless chicken breasts. They cook quickly in the Instant Pot, but if you don't cook them long enough they get a weird, rubber-like texture that's nearly impossible to chew, and if you cook them too long, their texture gets dry.

Can you overcook chicken in a pressure cooker? ›

Chicken can get a rubbery texture in the instant pot when over cooked. To avoid this, try not to over cook your chicken. Storing the chicken in chicken broth can help rehydrate the chicken and make it less rubbery.

Does cooking chicken longer in Instant Pot make it more tender? ›

This dinner staple cooks up perfectly every time in the Instant Pot. You can aim for firm but juicy chicken for cubing, or let it cook a little bit longer for tender shredded chicken.

Why is my pressure cooker chicken tough? ›

Without watching over your shoulder in your kitchen, the most likely reason is overcooking. Pressure cookers are powerful, and it can be a fine line between perfectly done vs. too much. Longer cook times squeeze more moisture out of the tissue, leaving it drier and tougher.

What happens if you cook chicken too long in the Instant Pot? ›

While all cuts of chicken are fair game for the Instant Pot, thighs are the most forgiving. Because chicken breast is so lean, just a couple of extra minutes of cook time turns them from juicy to overcooked and dry.

What if chicken is still raw in Instant Pot? ›

If desired, test chicken with a thermometer; it should reach 165 degrees. (If it's just shy, place the lid back on and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. If the chicken is still not cooked to at least 160 degrees, secure the instant pot lid and cook for 1-3 minutes longer, on high pressure.)

Is it better to pressure cook or slow cook chicken? ›

So can a Crock-Pot cook better chicken than an Instant Pot? Well, it really depends on what you're making. The Instant Pot cooks chicken much faster than its non-pressure counterparts, but the resulting texture isn't going to be the same as what you'd get with a slow cooker or Dutch oven.

Why does KFC pressure cook their chicken? ›


Leading to a product that cooked faster and maintain more its juices, since less moisture evaporates into steam. Thus, pressure frying produces the most consistently flavorful fried chicken, and is faster than any other method when cooking in higher volumes.

How much time to cook chicken in a pressure cooker? ›

chicken requires 18 minutes of high pressure cooking. Add 6 minutes of cooking time per additional pound. Note: You can submerge your chicken directly in the cooking liquid, especially if you want to make chicken stock. However, the steamer basket method ensures crispy skin and won't wash away the seasoning.

How do you know when chicken is cooked in an Instant Pot? ›

Open the pot, then use a digital thermometer to check the thickest part of a piece of chicken—it should be at least 165oF. If the chicken is not quite up to temperature, put the lid back on with the vent closed and cook for another minute or two.

Why did my chicken burn in Instant Pot? ›

There are a number of reasons your Instant Pot will display its burn message. Most of these involve mishaps that may occur during the cooking process, like not adding enough liquid or forgetting to adjust the steam valve to the sealing position. Once you figure out what you've done wrong, correcting the error is easy.

Do you cover meat with liquid in a pressure cooker? ›

While you may cover meat almost completely for a conventional braise, use just enough liquid for the cooker to reach pressure – during pressure cooking the meat will release it's own juice and braise in that flavorful liquid, instead. DO use fresh herbs.

How do you make meat tender in a pressure cooker? ›

Bring up to full pressure over medium-high heat, and cook for 20 minutes. Carefully release pressure according to the manufacturer's instructions. Check to make sure meat is fork tender. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes.

Does chicken cook faster in pressure cooker? ›

Pressure cookers save you time by cooking foods TWO to TEN times faster than other cooking methods. They are the fastest way to cook delicious meals: beef roasts, chicken, rice, dry beans, you name it.

What makes meat more tender pressure cooking or slow cooking? ›

Traditionally cheaper cuts of meat always slow cook better. Slow cooking breaks down the connective collagen in meat, which turns into unctuous gelatine. This creates that soft and tender mouth feel we all crave.

What causes chicken to have a rubbery texture? ›

Overcooking might play a role in your chicken's tire-like texture. Leaving chicken in a pan, oven, or grill for just a little too long can suck the moisture right out and leave you with a dry, rubbery bird. Without moisture, the protein fibers in the chicken become elastic.

How do you keep chicken from getting rubbery in an air fryer? ›

The most likely reason for tough chicken in the air fryer is overcooking. Be sure to cook it to only 160-degrees and then allow it to rest for 5-minutes tented with foil.

How to fix rubbery chicken skin? ›

Alternatively, try dry brining. Applying salt the day before will enhance the chicken's flavor. Along with that, it also helps stop the chicken from drying out completely or the skin turning rubbery.

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